ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / August 22) – The top official of the country has apologized Tuesday to the victims of the martial law regime of President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
Speaking on the 17th birthday of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University as a full-fledged university, Chief of Staff of the Philippines Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez Jr. assured the pain and suffering that the people who had to endure during the dictatorship "will never happen again".
He added that the AFP undertakes to "respect human rights" in executing the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Mindanao under martial law on May 23 last year, the same day that Islamic state-inspired militants besieged Marawi City.
The declaration of martial law has been extended twice, the second extension ends on 31 December of this year.
Galvez, together with Mindanao scholar and Lumad rights plead for Br. Carlito "Karl" Morante Gaspar and the late press freedom hunter Antonio Ma. Nieva received awards during the commemoration.
Galvez received the Ateneo Peace Award "for his achievements as a peace-oriented leader in the army, his leading role during the Marawi Siege as commander of the Western Mindanao Command, and his contribution to the peace process in Mindanao as Chairman of the Coordinating Party Committee for the cessation of hostilities. "
Gaspar received the Pro Deo et Patria Award for his achievements as a scholar, community developer, theologian and friend-proponent of the indigenous peoples, faith organizations, the church and the poor. especially from Mindanao. "
Gaspar, a brother of the Redemptorist, suffered torture as a political prisoner during martial law.
Nieva was awarded the Mayor Cesar Climaco Award "for his critical leadership role as the founder of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, and his contribution as a journalist to the struggle to restore Press Freedom during a very turbulent time in Philippine history."
Galvez and Gaspar have personally received the awards. Nieva, born in Zamboanga, was represented by his daughter, Aletski Nieva-Nishimori.
The ceremony coincided with the 35th death celebration of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. who commemorated the university "because of his heroism in defense of Philippine democracy".
Aquino, a prominent critic of the dictatorship of Marcos, was assassinated on his arrival at the airport in Manila, which now bears his name. (Frencie L. Carreon / MindaNews)